Archive for March, 2011

Donna Rose Addresses the Community on Change

March 18, 2011

By Donna Rose
Former Executive Director
LGBT Community Center Coalition

The only constant in life is change. Recognizing and analyzing that paradox is a central theme to much of what we think, know, experience, and believe. From Aristotle to Plato and beyond there are attempts to explain it, to manage it, or to rationalize it. I sometimes feel like a poster-child for change, and over time I’ve eventually come to peace with the fact that it just is.

Sometimes change just happens over time. Sometimes we make it happen through action or effort. Realistically, though, I’d argue that the end result of most things is often some combination of the two. It’s nothing to be mourned. It’s nothing to apologize for. It’s not a failure. It’s a natural part of growth. And life.

I have been the first executive director for the Central PA LGBT Community Center Coalition based in Harrisburg for almost five months. Being the first of anything often means covering uncharted territory and that, too, is a role I’ve come to know well. It forces people out of their comfort zones. It forces people to take risks. It involves discovery. And, it involves change.

I write this in the shadow of recent news that the board of directors and I have agreed to an amicable parting. In fact, today is my last day as executive director and I find myself contemplating a number of things.

First, it needs to be stressed that there is no blame here. A first natural response when a relationship ends is to find someone to blame. In this case – there truly is none. There is a significant difference of opinion on a number of critical things which is testament to the passion that we all bring to the table. A far worse outcome would be apathy, and I can assure you that there is none of that involved. Regardless of our strategic differences we all remain dedicated to the same high ideals that forged our relationship in the first place.

Not only do I personally not hold any animosity towards anyone, I find myself appreciating the opportunity I’ve had to forge a world of new friends and relationships that will last far beyond this role or my residence here. I hope and expect that members of the board feel similarly, and that the end of our relationship truly is an amicable one.

Second, the concept of a community center is a critical one. I can’t urge anyone reading this strongly enough – get involved! If you believe, as I do, that our kids not only deserve but need a place to find education and support, that the key to overcoming ignorance and hate is education, and that the personality of an organization needs to represent the broad spectrum of its leadership then don’t step back. Step forward. Get involved, speak up, and BE the change.

Legacy is an important concept in my world. The thought of leaving the world as a better place than when I got here in ways that endure is central to many of my efforts.
It gives me purpose. It is fuel to my passions. I like to believe that even in my short time in this role that I leave a legacy here that is a positive one. I like to think that the lives we’ve touched, and that the people who shared our passion, and that those who looked for role models and leaders will be those leaders here tomorrow and moving forward.

Another important concept is Potential. The reason I uprooted myself from a comfortable life in Arizona to come here to an uncertain future is the potential that this concept of a community center has here. My most significant personal disappointment as I step down is that we have not been able to realize that potential. It’s not because anyone was any more or less dedicated to the mission of equality – and it’s that commitment that needs to be stressed. Rest assured, I and the board were and remain committed.

A third concept that holds specific significance for me is Relevance. The growth and the health of any organization or cause is directly related to its ability to be relevant in people’s lives. I would argue that in my short time here we have never been more visible, and we have never been more relevant. But at this crossroads the question that needs to be asked is how to maintain and increase the breadth of that relevance. Finding ways to be relevant isn’t something that any one or two or small group of people can define. It requires involvement, and leadership, and energy, and vision. In short, it requires “community.”

That word, community, brings us full circle. A community is something that people choose to be part of. It is something that takes on the personality of the people that comprise it. It is something that needs to have potential, that needs to make itself relevant, that needs to grow and mature and adapt and be resilient, and that needs to be fueled by the collective passion of its members. I’m confident that others will build upon what is here, and will make this vision a reality.

I can’t thank the people I’ve met in my relatively short time here enough for their hospitality, for their warmth and kindness, for their dedication, and for making me a part of their lives. My time in central Pennsylvania has been a time of growth and learning, and I take the experiences of the last several months with me as I move along my path to wherever it leads.

Change is here. Embrace it. Recognize it. Appreciate it. But most importantly, please be part of it.

Speed Network: Hershey Professional Referral Exchange March 28

March 17, 2011

The Hershey Chapter of Professional Referral Exchange (PRE) will hold a SPEED NETWORKING event. The event will be held at the Hershey County Club on Monday March 28th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm.

The event provides the opportunity to share your business services to over 30 individuals in a dedicated one on one meeting environment. There is no cost for this event. Please bring plenty of business cards to share.

Founded in 1991, PRE organizes professionals, business owners and sales professionals for the primary purpose of helping each other succeed by networking through the exchange of qualified business referrals.

To RSVP for the speed networking event contact Paul Richards 717-585-8371 or e-mail RICHAP11@nationwide.com

New Center Focuses on Spirituality

March 17, 2011

A new center in central Pennsylvania will focus on spirituality rather than religion.

Founder and director the Rev. Dr. Terry Drew Karanen said the motto of the New Thought Center of Central Pennsylvania is “We make sense of life!” (sm). The center’s vision is to create a nurturing, safe space for growth and healing through personal empowerment.

The mission is to provide guidance, education and support through counseling and related services. Karanen is a counselor, clinical social worker and ordained minister who integrates spirit, mind and body in solving life’s challenges.

The center is located in Camp Hill above the Cornerstone Coffeehouse, 2133 Market St. and offers:

• Psychotherapy and counseling for individuals and couples
• Educational classes and individual mentoring on how to live life to the fullest
• Weekly meditation service
• Officiant services for weddings and other celebrations of life
• Massage therapy
• Private yoga instruction

Karenan holds a Doctor of Divinity degree from the American Institute of Holistic Theology and a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University. He is trained in the teachings of Religious Science, a philosophy and way of life called “New Thought” that is distinctly American in origin. The center has been created to provide a space for people of all faiths, religions and beliefs to learn more about the universal principles of the New Thought Movement.

Karenan has also been in practice as a massage therapist and reflexologist for more than 25 years, and the author of seven books. His ministry and counseling honors all religions and spiritual paths, as well as those whose belief system sides with science over theology.

“The center is unique in our area in its teaching, and provides a safe, diverse and welcoming atmosphere for people of all backgrounds, cultures, sexual orientations and ages,” Karenan said in a news release.

A four-part class series, “Making Sense of Life”, will begin April 5. All other services may be arranged by appointment. Info: 717.645.8885, email terry@newthoughtpa.org

Donna Rose, Community Center Agree on Departure

March 15, 2011

Donna Rose

In a statement released earlier today by LGBT Community Center board president Elizabeth P. Mullaugh explains that the organization’s executive director, Donna Rose, and the center have agreed to an amicable termination of their relationship.

Mullaugh’s statement: Since joining the LGBT Community Center in November as our first executive director, Donna Rose has been a tireless advocate for the center and its constituents throughout central Pennsylvania. Because of her obvious passion, her excellent public-speaking skills, and her media-relations expertise, she has increased the visibility of the center, created a significant amount of good will in the community and inspired people to reach for their best authentic selves.

While Donna firmly shares the strategic goals of the Center and her work over the past several months has laid firm groundwork for building important alliances within and outside of the lgbt community, differences over how to meet those shared goals and other considerations have brought us to the conclusion that an amicable termination of our formal relationship is in everyone’s best interest. Donna’s last official day as the executive director at the Center will be Fri., March 18.

Donna has offered to help the center through this latest transition, and the board of directors is grateful for the service she that she has provided during her time here. We wish her all the best as she moves toward the next phase of her extraordinary journey.

Play Review: New City Stage Company’s Pterodactyls

March 7, 2011

Ensemble of Pterodactyls, photos by AnnieSuch


McLenigan and Kevin Meehan in Pterodactyls, photo by Annie Such

Homo Sapiens on the Road to Extinction
in New City Stage Company’s Pterodactyls

by Debra Miller
Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent

“I have AIDS.” So announces Todd Duncan, the prodigal son returned home to his Main Line family after a long absence, in New City Stage Company’s revival of Nicky Silver’s dark comedy Pterodactyls. But no one will listen.

Todd’s hysterical/amnesiac/hypochondriac sister Emma doesn’t remember him. His alcoholic, class-conscious mother Grace histrionically proclaims that he’s dying, then pours another drink and babbles incessantly about party-planning, shopping, the maid, and dinner. His workaholic, philandering father Arthur just wants to have a game of catch, and insists on calling him Buzz—Todd’s childhood nickname that he hated as much as he hated baseball.

It is obvious that “Buzz-Todd” (Tod means death in German) is a real buzz-kill for the already dysfunctional Duncan family, and his arrival sets them into a farcical tailspin of tragic proportions, in which Todd’s obsessions with unsafe sex and dinosaurs ultimately coalesce. In the end there is no happy escape through madness, drink, façades, or excess, only self-destruction and the sure extinction of a social class in denial.

This is a difficult play. What is funny in the first act turns deadly in the second. The damaged characters become increasingly angry, desperate, and poignant. It’s a production that requires compassionate direction and sensitive acting, that must take the audience on a journey from laughter to tears to social awareness. New City Stage delivers splendidly on all counts.

Director Brenna Geffers expertly displays her unique style of commanding focus and quirky edginess. The award-winning cast is equally masterful; Jered McLenigan as Todd, Cheryl Williams as Grace, and Bruce Graham as Arthur persuasively capture the emotional nuances and complex psychology of these very human characters, ranging from laughable to infuriating to heartbreaking. NCSC Artistic Director Ginger Dayle is hilarious as Emma; her scene of spontaneous deafness is one of the most comical, and memorable, of the show. And Kevin Meehan, as Emma’s ill-chosen, working-class, closeted fiancé Tommy, who is seduced and infected by Todd, proves his considerable talents in both comedy and tragedy as the anguished collateral damage of this decimated family.

The production’s outstanding acting and direction are enhanced by its impressive artistic team; especially noteworthy are Matt Sharp’s dramatic lighting and Andrew Beal’s large-scale sculpture of a dinosaur skeleton, the dominant symbol of the Duncans’ antiquated and unsustainable lifestyle.

Pterodactyls runs through March 27 on the Mainstage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. For more information and tickets ($18-22), call 215.563.7500, email info@newcitystage.org, or visit the company’s website at http://www.newcitystage.org. A special St. Patty Soiree will be held on Thursday, March 17, with wine, beer, an Irish-inspired buffet, and “plenty o’ fun!”